The Montreal Canadiens earned a decisive 4-0 victory over the Boston Bruins tonight, but before that could become official, things got heated between the two bitter rivals.
A major melee erupted at 19:36, which led to Boston’s Jarome Iginla and Montreal’s Mike Weaver receiving game misconducts. You can view the incident here:
At first glance, it looks like the incident escalated from Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara’s actions, and the way the penalties were assessed (16 Bruins penalty minutes to 12 Montreal) seemed to reinforce the notion that the Bruins were the instigators.
It’s a notion, though, that Bruins coach Claude Julien took exception to.
“All I said was that we’re perceived like the bad guys, and they’re the good guys,” Julien said, per ESPN’s Mike Cole. “When Markov trips Chara and puts his stick between his legs, somebody’s going to react, whether it’s right or wrong, Zdeno reacted and then everything else happened. There was a slewfoot before, Desharnais on Marchand. It was a slewfoot. Those are things we keep talking about that are dangerous in our game.
“It’s a rivalry and there are some things going on on both sides. I’m not portraying ourselves as innocent here, I’m just saying it takes two teams to tangle and that’s what happened.”
The Canadiens certainly seemed eager to pin the blame on Boston with a jab via Twitter. The fans at Montreal’s Bell Centre got in on the action too, throwing white towels at Chara and Bruins forward Milan Lucic as they left (courtesy of The Score’s Katie Flynn):
With both team’s seasons on the line, this intensity should carry over into Game 7.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.